Beatrix Potter's Viewpoints
Eleven summers spent on the shores of Derwent Water inspired Beatrix to create some of her earliest and most loved tales, but have you ever wondered exactly where Mrs Tiggy-winkle lived, or which island Squirrel Nutkin and his friends rafted out to?
Despite her famous connections with Hill Top and other parts of the central Lake District, Beatrix Potter’s tales of Squirrel Nutkin, Benjamin Bunny and Mrs Tiggy-winkle are all rooted in the Lakeland landscape found around Keswick, inspired by time spent on family holidays at Lingholm and Fawe Park on the west shores of the lake between 1885 and 1907.
We've tracked down the actual locations where she must have stood or sat to make some of her sketches, and we thought we'd share them with you.
A love of the Northern Lakes
Getting out and about in the countryside, sketching and letting her mind wander was part of a rich creative process for Beatrix, bringing her some release from the rather stifled life she had in London with her overbearing parents.
Beatrix later became part of the early conservation movement to save England's open spaces contributing to the campaign to protect Brandelhow Park, the first land in the Lake District to be protected by the National Trust in 1902 and a part of the Keswick landscape that still fascinates and delights thousands of visitors every year.
Stand in Beatrix's footprints
In researching these viewpoints we were really struck by the fact that the backdrops for her characters are real scenes from Derwent Water, Cat Bells and Newlands, they're not just generic 'countryside'. Beatrix was inspired by the real places and real people that she met - for example 'Lucie' in The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-winkle was named after Lucie Carr, the infant daughter of the vicar of Newlands parish, who Beatrix introduced to her pet hedgehog in 1904.
We've created a map that's free to download to help you disover the places that inspired Beatrix for yourself. Use the map to seek out the view of Castle Nook crag and Dale Head which provides the backdrop for Lucie as she walks above Little Town, or explore Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden and picture the line of rafting red squirrels stretching across the water to St Herbert's Island, which the squirrels called Owl Island in The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.
Will you find all seven?
All of the iconic views are just a short walk (no more than ⅔ mile) from a place where you can leave the car, so it's easy to hop from one to another, or cycle or catch the launch across the lake and take a longer walk between some of them - what a lovely way to spend a day in the Lake District.
You can even get refreshments out and about from places with a Beatrix Potter connection at Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden and Little Town Farm tea room, please check their websites for opening times. There are also cafes in Portinscale and Keswick.